The Pastel de Nata is an ancient Portuguese dessert that has recently become a lucrative international sensation. Thanks to the startup Nata Pura, this celebrated delicacy is now enjoyed by almost every country in the world. A recent Bloomberg article by Alice Kantor profiled the Pastel de Nata, “cream pastry” in Portuguese, and its rise to global popularity.
In 2013, the then tiny business of Nata Pura, “sought to do for natas what Dunkin Donuts did for doughnuts.” The company was funded by a six-figure investment from a firm backed by government agencies called Portugal Ventures. Kantor writes of the company’s rise to international prominence,
“Nata Pura received enthusiastic reactions at a food fair in London…It held pastry tastings and sponsored events like the London Coffee Festival and BBC Good Food. The company now sells about 500,000 natas a month in 5,000 stores around the world…Sales are between 1.5 million and 2 million euros a year, and expect to double this year. More than a third of their business comes from South Korea, where one of their customers, the CVS chain, will offer them in 12,500 stores.”
The secret to Nata Pura’s success? The forward-thinking marketing and branding implemented by founder Mabilio de Albuquerque. He developed a method to adapt the Pastel de Nata to the local flavors of the country he aimed to sell in. For example, Nata Pura had “matcha green tea and passion fruit flavors in Japan, and Brie, Camembert and blue cheese for Paris.” In this way, de Albuquerque modeled the international strategies of businesses like McDonald’s, as he aimed to be relevant for consumers everywhere.
Nata Pura’s ambition to take a delicacy of Portuguese culture global is the kind of growth and development that wegg® aims to help businesses achieve. Check out the resources that we have available on our website to see how we could help you.
We could not help but notice the tie-in to wegg® women concerning the recent movie “Maiden.” How so? The “Maiden” is based on a true story that goes like this:
An all-female crew in a virtually all-male sport challenges the open ocean, and a sea of presumptions, to prove that women can sail – and take their lives in their hands – just as crazily as men. (Source: WSJ, 6/28/19)
Think about it. wegg women are exporting despite the fact that the business world is still male-dominated and many organizations don’t even track the exports of women business owners. Yet women know they have a chance at exporting just as much as anyone else, build their confidence, and go for it – cracking open possibilities of expanding their businesses globally and all with a little help from us here at wegg.
Bottom line: there is proof that women can sail, and by golly, there is proof that women can export. Again, it’s all about possibilities. Why just look at yesterday’s four-peat win of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team on the World Cup! Never tone down your goals or celebrations whether it be sailing, soccer or exporting.
For further proof that women can export, join us on our next wegginar® 7/10 when CEO Cathy Koch talks about her quest for global growth at her business. She is not only making waves, but she is exporting!
In a recent Forbes article, author Vivian Nunez interviews female founder Agustina Sartori on her wisdom for other women in business. Sartori is the founder of GlamST, “an artificial recognition technology [allowing] users to try on makeup virtually, whether through an app or in-store experience,” which has recently been acquired by Ulta.
Ensuring that GlamST has been driven by a mission since its initial conception to later success is at the center of Sartori’s business philosophy. Nunez explains, “[Sartori] wanted a brand that celebrated her Latinx roots, her passion for technology, and her interest in using technology to find beauty solutions.” GlamST’s team is split between Uruguay and California, as a measure to uphold Sartori’s background in the future of the company, and combine two worlds to create one amazing product.
Let’s dive in to Sartori’s top three tips for other women seeking to achieve business success.
Trust that your idea is the starting point for pursuing profitability and scalability
It is key to commit yourself fully to the initial idea you have, as well as to anticipate the future. Sartori explains,
“Startups are a lot about having clear where you are heading and what’s the next goal you should target. I always felt very strong about the direction of the company and visualized the path from Uruguay, living in Chile, from Chile dreaming with San Francisco, moving to San Fran, raising money and working with world class clients in the US. I deeply believed that if we wanted to grow and be successful, we needed to be in United States, understand the market, network, meet the right people, and play in the first league but always keeping our high tech team in Uruguay.”
Define your ‘why’
Sartori knew from the beginning what she wanted from GlamST and why she was doing the work. Having a mission that she could return to during difficult times helped her to remain focused. She adds,
“Understand well why you want to start a brand, what you stand for, what you are passionate about. There are a lot of companies and new brands out there so you will need to hustle, be innovative and unique to be competitive. There will be hard times, moments you will want to give up – and those are the moments you go back to your essence, why did you start and why should you keep on doing this.”
Hold on to your champions in the space
When embarking on the acquisition process with Ulta, it was very impactful for Sartori to be amongst other Latinx people in the room. Having peers and mentors that you can look up to is a crucial part of starting anything. Sartori details,
“Maria Salcedo, another Latina was leading Corporate Development at the time, I look back and I do think that it was unique that both of us as Latinas helped build bridges within our teams to make a successful acquisition and new partnership happen where our culture and values played an important role in it.”
wegg® admires Sartori’s mission, success, and ways she took GlamST global with bases in Uruguay and California. To learn even more tips on taking a startup global, check out the many resources we offer here.
wegg® is grateful and thankful to the time, effort, and impact our esteemed sponsors have made to our nonprofit and to the hundreds, if not thousands, of women entrepreneurs and business owners who have also gained from their support to our programs.
In a recent Forbes article, Sara Weinreb reports on the crisis facing women artisan entrepreneurs in Guatemala regarding the rise of “fast fashion” businesses in the U.S. This issue is explored in depth in a new documentary by Eco-Age, Fashionscapes: Artisans Guatemaya. The work of women artisans in Guatemala is slow and sustainable, which greatly contrasts the cheap and disposable practices of large corporations. Fast fashion giants produce clothing with an emphasis on quantity, as opposed to the small businesses of Guatemala that focus on quality and environmental health.
Of the 17 million residents of Guatemala, one million are artisans. The main source of income for this demographic, most of which consists of women and girls, is now at risk of becoming obsolete. Weinreb explains,
“It’s a multi-generational craft, in which girls learn weaving and dying, starting as young as eight years old, from their mothers. The artistry is inspired by nature and the season, and garments are dyed using local produce such as avocados. Each piece is made by hand and can take up to a month to complete, which is radically different from the current fast fashion model. Artisan fashion is slow and sustainable at its core.”
The lasting harmful effects of mass production on the livelihood of women artisans is not only prevalent on a global business scale, but also extends into the very communities in which these women work. Weinreb details, “Local residents are choosing to forgo artisan-made pieces for second-hand items that are imported into the nation due to their low cost.” Furthermore, the designers in the U.S. and Europe, that appropriate the work of Guatemalan women, do not employ or collaborate with them in order to create ethical and authentic products.
There are organizations focused on protecting and empowering the women artisans of Guatemala, such as PACUNAM and Nest. And of course, wegg® is dedicated to furthering the success and reach of women entrepreneurs everywhere. Learn more about how we can help you go global, here.
When Cathy returned to her job after the birth of her daughter, she was told her position was no longer available. Rather than fight, she went to work for the company’s top competitor. She says it was the best thing that ever happened to her. It didn’t take long before Cathy started her own company, K-Tec Systems. Cathy has over 35 years of experience in this industry. With K-Tec Systems she has been a reliable source to the automotive, aerospace, food and chemical industries for over 28 years.
Cathy has gained her experience from her customers. Visiting them in their plants, watching them work, helping them with the technical challenges has led her to a better understanding of the processes. She also has proven her ability to find creative solutions by helping them optimize the manufacturing of their products.
Beyond her expertise and knowledge, her loyalty, dedication and resilience make her the right leader to bring success to K-Tec Systems.
Cathy is fully committed to reinvigorating the importance of quality over price and accurate test measurements. To give this new energy and raise the expectations for her company, Cathy envisions a culture that is based on creativity and a healthy work-space to attract and retain a talented workforce.
In the article, Unique Barriers Face Women-Owned Businesses, authors Maribel A. Dano-Luna (pictured left), Senior Researcher, and Rose Ann Camille (pictured right), Research Associate, Asian Institute of Management Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness, discuss the challenges women business owners face when exporting. We contacted Maribel and Rose Ann to find out what prompted them to write the article, why SMEs owned by men earn twice as much from share of exports versus women, and what can be done to further support women business owners to export more and be intimidated less. The edited excerpt of the interview follows.
Laurel Delaney: What prompted you to write the article?
Maribel A. Dano-Luna: The Asian Institute of Management R.S.N. Policy Center for Competitiveness conducts annual survey on small and medium enterprises (SMEs). For 2018, looking at women-owned SMEs has been pipelined in our research agenda and thus we wrote the working paper on Barriers to Scaling-up of [Women Small and Medium Enterprises] WSMEs. We are thankful for the Investing in Women Asia and ANU’s East Asian Forum Newsletter for picking up our study and giving us a platform to reach a wider audience through the commentary article.
LD: In your article you state, “while there are no significant differences in firm performance by gender, SMEs owned by men earned twice as much from share of exports to total sales compared with those owned by women.” Why is this and what can be done about it?
MDL: In the survey, we asked their reasons behind not exporting. Results show that in the Philippines, SMEs’ (both men and women-owned) top reasons for not exporting has to do with their entrepreneurial mindset – owner is content with the current state of business and they think it’s too risky. But specifically, women-owned SMEs compared with men-owned, are more likely not to export because of unsuccessful attempts in exporting in the past as well as lack of or difficult access to technology, raw materials or inputs. This signals the issue of confidence in terms of pursuing exporting which is generally perceived as risky.
We’ve had conversations last year with women entrepreneurs being assisted by the Philippine Commission on Women and they have raised the issue of difficulty in complying with exporting certification and standards, which contributes to the barrier for them to export and consequently, scale-up and grow.
LD: You also state, “The number one reason given for [women] not exporting was that the owner was content with the current state of business. Based on your findings, what can be done to further support women business owners to export more and be intimidated less?
Rose Ann Camille: In the Policy Center’s 2018 SME survey, results show that women entrepreneurs are more likely to place higher importance on mentoring or coaching programs for them to expand their business, including exporting. So, with a good mentoring program in place, it creates a positive impact on improving the entrepreneurial mindset of women entrepreneurs, making them more confident and less risk averse when it comes to engaging in exporting. Currently, we’re working with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprises to assess the impact of mentoring programs to SMEs. Also, we’ve highlighted the importance of belonging to a business network to elevate the social capital of women entrepreneurs.
LD: Increasing exports is a high priority for governments who wish to stimulate economic growth. How should governments intervene to assist, in particular, female business owners to export?
RAC: More targeted policies to foster an encouraging environment for women to start or join business organizations that will guide them in exporting.
MDL: Although in our overall survey study, we find that only 5.6% of SMEs are member of business organizations and thus efforts in raising awareness on the benefits of memberships in business organizations can be heightened. I think another aspect that needs further focus is in capacitation of women-owned SMEs to comply with exporting certification such as the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) accreditation. It’s a good thing that DTI has now launched a partnership with FDA to capacitate entrepreneurs on this. Our study also points to WSMEs access to technology. As we have pointed out in the EAF article, technology-intensive SMEs owned by women are significantly more likely to scale up. However, they tend to make limited use of more sophisticated technology — for example, e-commerce, websites, digital payment or cloud-based storage. Policies encouraging these entrepreneurs to make better use of their technology could boost their capacity to develop.
LD: Beyond your findings, what is the hidden, underlying message? What are we missing for women business owners that can elevate them to match the performance of their male counterparts?
MDL: I think more than contrasting men and women-owned SMEs and looking at the significant difference in their performance, we’ve found out that there are significant differences when it comes to reasons behind why some women-owned SMEs do not engage in exporting, innovation, expanding, nor applying for a loan.
Both the mindset and technical aspects are crucial to elevate SME performance. Policy incentives influencing extensive use of more sophisticated technologies, especially with the advent of Fourth Industrial Revolution are crucial for SMEs to not only scale-up in terms of firm size and sales but as well as in management and employee skills.
RAC: In our study, we can’t conclusively say that the challenges that they [women business owners] face is solely attributable to their gender. It’s definitely a confluence of other factors. What we wanted to highlight is that while women are more likely to start a business in the Philippines, they still lag behind men in terms of making their business thrive beyond the start-up phase. As mentioned in our study, women are less likely to borrow, engage in any innovation or expansion activities compared with men because of risk aversion, or their thinking that they are already content with the current state of their business. Again, the entrepreneurial mindset of the women plays a key role.
In closing, wegg® assists with all of the challenges Maribel A. Dano-Luna and Rose Ann Camille discuss on where women business owners need help with exporting: mentoring to export, accessing technology to export and building up confidence to export. To learn more about the entrepreneurial mindset of a woman business owner who currently exports, join us for our next free-of-charge wegginar® where CEO Cathy Koch, K-Tec Systems, talks about her quest for borderless growth.
Ankiti Bose is on track to become the first Indian woman to co-found a $1 billion dollar start-up. The 27-year old mogul wants to use her success to empower other women entrepreneurs in Asian countries, as she told Karen Gilchrist in a recent article for Make It.
Bose’s start-up, Zilingo, launched in 2014, is a retail website that sells the clothing and textiles of entrepreneurs all over Asia. The site gives a platform to small-business owners who might not otherwise have the reach or resources to sell their products on a global level. Many of these entrepreneurs that Bose has helped include women who sell their work at pop-up markets in Asia.
Besides Zilingo being founded on empowering women entrepreneurs, Bose has also ensured that it is a 50% female company with 50% female leadership. Bose notes that she wants to see her own success happen to a-lot of other women, and she uses her platform to work towards just that. To achieve this goal, Bose urges women, “to continue demanding more of their employers and colleagues — whether that’s in terms of guidance or recognition.” As the Zilingo CEO, Bose has witnessed female colleagues “shy away from opportunities, while their male counterparts typically ‘negotiate hard’ for their salaries, positions, and even resignation packages.”
Her advice to other women in business?
“I think it’s important to ask for help, and it’s also important to ask for what you think you deserve. I’ve had situations where I’ve gone into negotiations with women saying ‘you’re asking for too little, don’t you know what you’re worth?’ In the end, I think [things] can only shift if there are enough women in leadership and decision-making positions. But to get there, we all have to work very hard.”
It thrills wegg® that Bose’s incredible success is built on a foundation of raising up her fellow women. Providing resources for female business owners is also a cornerstone of our work. Check out our website to learn more about our wegginars®, workshops, and weggchats®.
From all of us at wegg®, we wish Americans a warm and meaningful Memorial Day 2019.
It is a day when we as the country come together to honor and remember our servicemen and women who responded to the call of duty and paid the price. It is a day when we should take notice, stand up, and say “thank you for sacrificing your lives for our freedom and we remember you.”
It is estimated that 40% of Nigerian women are entrepreneurs. Despite the market for women-owned businesses being highly concentrated, the businesses that make up the “brightest and best” of Nigerian entrepreneurship are run by men. What accounts for this entrepreneurial inequity? The education gap between men and women in Nigeria.
In a recent article entitled, “Nigerian women entrepreneurs draw the short straw on education levels,” Tolu Olarewaju illustrates the systemic differences between the education received by Nigerian women in comparison to Nigerian men. Olarewaju delineates two subsets of business in Nigeria: high and low value entrepreneurship. He explains, “High value implies higher incomes and innovative goods and services and low value the opposite.” Besides low and high value, Nigerian entrepreneurship can also be described as being necessity-driven or opportunity-motivated. Olarewaju explains,
“Necessity-driven entrepreneurs are those who are pushed into starting businesses because they have no other source of income. Opportunity-motivated entrepreneurs are those who enter business ownership primarily to pursue an opportunity.”
74% of Nigerian women entrepreneurs in the early stage of their business reported to be opportunity-motivated, according to the most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey This was the same statistic reported for male entrepreneurs. However, there is still inconsistency between the perceived value of businesses run by men verses those run by women. Women’s businesses are usually classified as low value, while those of men are high value, generating higher income and innovation.
Olarewaju attributes this to the lack of educational opportunities given to women. Education and experience in business can often determine the success of an entrepreneur. If half of a country’s entrepreneurs are not afforded the same baseline of education to work from, then those entrepreneurs will not succeed as quickly as their counterparts. Olarewaju details the roots of this inequality,
“Our research confirmed that women in Nigeria generally have lower educational endowments than men and consequently, a higher proportion of them are engaged in non-innovative entrepreneurial ventures. Crucially, if Nigerian men and women had the same endowments in education, Nigerian women who have the same educational endowments as men would be able to create more entrepreneurial opportunities in high value ventures. Thus, the type of entrepreneurship Nigerian women engage in would naturally shift from hand-to-mouth necessity entrepreneurship to high value opportunity entrepreneurship.”
One of our goals at wegg® is to work towards ending the education gap between men and women entrepreneurs around the world. We provide free education on how women can take their businesses global. Most of our programming is online, and can be accessed through our website. Let’s help global women entrepreneurs be their brightest and best.